Anterior clinoidectomy using an extradural and intradural 2-step hybrid technique

J Neurosurg 130:238–247, 2019

Anterior clinoidectomy is a difficult yet essential technique in skull base surgery. Two main techniques (extradural and intradural) with multiple modifications have been proposed to increase efficiency and avoid complications.

In this study, the authors sought to develop a hybrid technique based on localization of the optic strut (OS) to combine the advantages and avoid the disadvantages of both techniques. Ten cadaveric specimens were prepared for surgical simulation. After a standard pterional craniotomy, the anterior clinoid process (ACP) was resected in 2 steps. The segment anterior to the OS was resected extradurally, while the segment posterior to the OS was resected intradurally. The proposed technique was performed in 6 clinical cases to evaluate its safety and efficiency.

Anterior clinoidectomy was successfully performed in all cadaveric specimens and all 6 patients by using the proposed technique. The extradural phase enabled early decompression of the optic nerve while avoiding the adjacent internal carotid artery. The OS was drilled intradurally under direct visualization of the adjacent neurovascular structures. The described landmarks were easily identifiable and applicable in the surgically treated patients. No operative complication was encountered.

A proposed 2-step hybrid technique combines the advantages of the extradural and intradural techniques while avoiding their disadvantages. This technique allows reduced intradural drilling and subarachnoid bone dust deposition. Moreover, the most critical part of the clinoidectomy—that is, drilling of the OS and removal of the body of the ACP—is left for the intradural phase, when critical neurovascular structures can be directly viewed.